Humans built cities, but cities are where we become civil, civilized, and civically minded; we are thus products of cities. Cities are also ubiquitous in the human experience. Yet, the last two hundred years witnessed an unprecedented mega-urbanization of humanity. In 2007, or so, it was announced that more humans now lived in cities than in the countryside. This article aims to analyze the new pattern of mega-urbanization in the twenty-first century, a century that brings extreme challenges: demographic growth (9 billion humans), global warming with its concomitant chaotic and severe weather, massive population displacements, precarious water resources, and greater global economic integration with growing volatility. The largest megalopolises of the twenty-first century will be in the “global South” in the “developing world.” Most of this urbanization will be in the form of irregular urbanization, that is, ghettos, shantytowns, favelas, slums.
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